Abhinav Bindra’s body language belied any emotions whatsoever on what was the final day of an illustrious career as he made it clear that he was done with aiming bull’s eye and ready to move to the next phase of his life although he does not know what it is.
A near second Olympic medal was missed by a whisker and even if he felt gutted, Bindra was not ready to show it in front of his country’s media.
“It is my job to be composed. I do not want to break down in front of you. I knew this was coming and I am at peace with it. I did my best but ended up fourth. No medal but very close. Had a good day, but it didn’t pay off,” Bindra told reporters after the end of the event.
Soon to be 34, Bindra maintained that there’s no chance of entering the shooting range again. “I am done, I have announced my retirement, so there is no reconsideration. I am not going to shoot again. This is it.
I support youngsters already. I support 30 young shooters through my foundation. I will try and do the best I can,” the ace marksman added.
The fourth place finish will not be able to give a clear picture of what kind of effort has gone into the preparation and the 2008 Olympic champion said that there was no dearth of effort this time also. “I really tried to put my best foot forward all these years. I am really happy with the way it is.”
While he is ready to move on to the next phase of his life, the immediate query did not amuse him. Fittingly a curt reply came: “That is an unfair question to ask. I just completed my event and you want me to give the story of my life’s future, I’ve no idea.”
Bindra also dismissed ideas of giving pep talk to other Indian athletes at the Games. “Not at this juncture. It’s not my job to become their coaches. They have their support staff,” said Bindra.
Having started his Olympic journey in Sydney back in 2000, Bindra qualified in three Olympic finals including his golden journey of Beijing in 2008 (Athens being the other one) in his pet 10m air rifle, while he missed out in Sydney and London.
Bindra is India’s most decorated shooter but nevertheless a product despite the system rather than being of the system.
Bindra has a state=of-art shooting range in their 13 acre sprawling farmhouse. This time to get himself ready for Rio 2016 Bindra replicated the range to be like that of Olympic Shooting Centre in Deodoro.
So what happens to the shooting range now that he will not step in there. He maintained a straight face but the sense of humour was in place.
“I am converting that into a vegetable garden. Don’t you think I’m a serious person. Maybe the next time (Tokyo 2020), I will come as a journalist if anybody gives me a job,” Bindra said.